Teddington Hockey Club: world’s oldest club celebrates 150th anniversary

Teddington Hockey Club are the world’s oldest and due to delays relating to the pandemic, they are celebrating their 150th anniversary this year.

Celebrations for their 150th year reach their climax during June as they host a commemorative staging of the original hockey game, a gala dinner, and a junior tournament which will see Olympians and international stars visit South West London.

The sport of hockey was formally invented in Bushy Park by the local cricket club looking to play sport following a particularly wet summer, and created hockey and Teddington Hockey Club which still exists to this day.

Marcus Wardle, archivist at the Hockey Museum, said: “Teddington are the founders of modern hockey.

“Hockey as a game has been around for centuries, and Teddington formalised the rules and the way the game is played back in 1871.

“The imprint that these men left on the game is still there today, the basic rules, the size of the pitch, and the ball, which is just a cricket ball painted white.

“On the pitch itself you have the D, which is the only area you are allowed to score from, that was brought in around 1875 and was first known as Teddington’s magic circle.

“You can find variations of hockey played all around the world, one of the most famous is Genna in Ethiopia and that can trace its roots all the way back to the birth of Christ.

“But in my opinion Teddington are the most influential team in modern hockey because they formalised the rules and you can see their influence all over the game.”

The history of the club is something that continues to live within the club and passes down the generations as the sons and grandsons of former.

Ignacio Cookman, a player for Teddington and son of club president Gavin Cookman, added: “I think it’s one of the best parts of the club that it is very common for multiple generations to have played for the club.

“I think it is very funny that my dad and his best friend both played for the club, and when I started playing men’s hockey, I was playing alongside his best friend’s son.

“The guys like me whose dads did play for the club, they all know the story behind it and how it started off in Bushy Park hence why we have that emblem of the trees from Bushy Park and how they used to play on the grass there.

“Everyone kind of knows everyone, we watch the games together and when we were coming through the ranks we were coached by some of the older guys or played alongside them.”

PINK AND BROWN: Teddington wearing their kit styled after the trees in Bushy Park

Teddington Hockey Club continue to be very focused on serving the community that they have created across their 150 years and being an important part of the lives of many people in Teddington.

Gavin Cookman said: “We have something like 6,500 people who are impacted by the club, be they suppliers or members of the club or grandparents or parents or coaches etc.

“I am a historian by degree and I think we should celebrate our 150 year history, but equally it’s important to think about the future and crucially think about the here and now.

“We have planted a tree in Bushy Park, harking back to the original tree that our club crest in based on, but it’s also part of our ethos, we’re trying to push the club towards going much greener in the next 12 to 18 months.

“We will source our materials from as close to home as we can we will get our food from local butchers.

“We will make sure that we talk to the school about who’s providing the electricity, and we will offset it if we have to.

“A couple of our girls have gone on to play in a full England shirt and that’s really important because you’ve got to have an elite end because it gives the really good players ambition, but we’ve got to make sure that we’re still playing our part in the community.

“I will run disability hockey if I get my way along with the club captain will do that not just for physical disabilities but neurological disability as well.

“I am type one diabetic and I have never not been able to play hockey because of it and it actually helped me as a young graduate to deal with that, so I hope we can do that on a larger scale.”

Image Credits: Mark Shepherd

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